I was privileged to be part of a unique firewood ministry while in Virginia. If you’re not familiar with what I’m referring to, dig back a bit in my blog archives and check out my previous post on “Embers.” Anyway…
I’m working on starting the “west annex”of the firewood ministry in Middle Tennessee. It’s just too good on too many levels to not carry the tradition forward. It brings out guys and their families from behind desks and daily routines to split wood and serve those in need right there – right in their own back yard. And, it’s an opportunity to play with my “big boy toys” – which makes it even better. Seriously, though…it’s a means by which others can be introduced to mission and service to others, just moments away from home. Hopefully, it’s a gateway to even greater service opportunities and a deeper change within.
So, as I’m working on starting the “west annex” firewood ministry, I decided to pick up some pallets for our wood storage site. I started with a call this morning to our local Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse – you know, the big blue place.
I asked for a store manager and was quickly connected with one. After briefly explaining my need for pallets and how they would be used, he advised that he can provide “as many pallets as you need.” Then he went on to tell me that they would be $12 each. He ended with explaining that he had to “cover the cost – as long as the store is ‘whole’, he can sell them to me for $12 each.”
After thanking the store manager, I exited the call. I thought about our conversation and decided that, if necessary, I would certainly pay the $12 each, although, I wasn’t convinced that I had found the best option. At the encouragement of a family member, I kept looking.
My next call was to the local Home Depot. Again, I was quickly connected to a store manager. As I described the firewood ministry and why I needed pallets, he responded with “Man, that’s AWESOME! I wonder if some of the guys at my church would want to help you. How many pallets do you need?”
I explained that I’d like to start with six or eight pallets, for now. He responded, “If you can wait until 3:00 or so I can have someone pick them out and make sure you get good ones. I’ll start you with 10. Fill those up and I’ll have 10 more for you.”
And so, I had to ask – “How much?”
His reply? “It’s on us. It’s our privilege to help our community. I think this is great.”
Ding! We have a winner.
I went by Home Depot at 3:00 this afternoon and there they were – ready to go. A great young guy wheeled them out to me on a pallet jack and we loaded them up. As we were loading them, he asked me what I was up to. As I told him, his enthusiasm grew – turns out, he’s a volunteer firefighter in a nearby community and wants to get some of his guys at the firehouse involved. Another winner.
As I drove home, it occurred to me…our local Lowe’s is said to be the highest volume store in their chain. I don’t know if that’s on the basis of sheer volume or on revenue – either way, it’s huge. It sits across the street from the fifth highest volume Starbucks in the country, so let’s just say that business is good in the neighborhood. Hmmmmm….
I’m reminded of the Parable of the Faithful Servant in Luke. Recall that Peter was taught “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
It seems to me that our local Lowe’s has been entrusted with much, yet they can’t hear opportunity over the sound of their cash registers. It’s a true shame, indeed – their loss.
I suspect that $72 represents the significance of a rounding error for our local “#1″ Lowe’s store. And, while their management guards and protects their bottom line presumably because they think they’re being good stewards of their company’s resources, the reality is this: True stewardship is the realization that none of it is ours, rather, it’s all His. We are simply entrusted with it and expected to do with it as we may in service to Him and to others.
Much given? Much expected. So, I ask…”Number one in what, exactly?”
I’m thinking that Peter would shop at Home Depot. I know I will.
Home Depot: Unofficial Sponsor of the West Annex Firewood Ministry.
Keep it Lit, y’all –